If you have had the opportunity to check out any of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp sessions so far, you will notice one thing very different from that of previous camps.
Hitting, hitting and more hitting.
Head coach Mike Tomlin has run a very physical camp so far, which is something Steelers’ fans haven’t really seen since the days of Chuck Noll.
A typical NFL practices features as little hitting as possible, but Tomlin set a tone in camp that began on Wednesday and continued through the weekend.
Why so much hitting? Tomlin explained to to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com:
“It’s just appropriate in today’s NFL. We have off days. We only get a chance to practice once a day. There are fewer and fewer opportunities to sort themselves out. We’ve got some young guys. We’ve got to sort through a lot of young guys and we’ve got to take advantage of opportunities to show improvement. That is what it is about.”
In addition to all of the contact, Tomlin’s practices are running longer than normal.
The average training camp session was topping off at about 2 1/2 hours, which is up from the two-hour sessions one would normally see.
Of course there are positives and negatives that come along with the physical tone so far in camp.
On the positive side, you would expect to see a team that is ready to set a physical tone to the season when the Steelers open up at Heinz Field against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 8. Tomlin’s team should be ready to go up front on both sides of the ball and their physical playmakers should be in midseason form.
However, there is a negative aspect to the physicality as well. With the increased hitting we should see an increase in bumps and bruises and overall minor injuries. That has been the case so far as several players have been held out of practices already.
Will the physical style of play pay off for Tomlin and the Steelers? I guess we will start getting that answer in a little over four weeks.